Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Monday, August 26, 2013


A spiritual friend whom we met on the internet commented on Larry's recent post Blake's Main Chance. His comment was about people who lead ordinary lives as William Blake did, and accomplish extraordinary things. Larry replied by commenting that he like Whitman had written his book on government time. I followed that hint by searching for a connection between Blake and Whitman. I found a few literary and historical associations which led to Whitman's grave in New Jersey which was patterned after Death's Door in Blake's image for Blair's The Grave. Through a video on YouTube I was able to make a visit to Whitman's home in Camden NJ and his grave which is recognizable as Blake's portrayal of the door through which one passes to reach another dimension. I passed through that door and saw in Camden all the agony in Blake's London which led him to call it Babylon, a place of captivity and oppression. The woe of perceiving the deteriorated city was followed by the joy of hearing the background music and reading that the lyrics were by Woody Guthrie. I wound up hearing the voices and guitar music of my two sons back in the day when we were under the same roof, singing and playing Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, John Lennon, etc. . 

Morgan Library
Plate 14, Copy A 
When the mind is open (or opened) to receiving multiple intimations of images of truth, the connections with the brotherhood of man and with the cosmos are achieved. The wall is breached. We become members of the one body which to Blake is Albion animated by Jesus. 


David Erdman on Page 587 of Blake's Poetry and Designs is attempting to convey a similar idea:

"In other words, when we wind up the thread of  the illuminated poem into the golden ball of a single, dynamic, visualizable orb, we are ready to enter into new expanses, through heaven's gate, built in Jerusalem's wall - or in this instance, through the 'breach in the city ... after the battle.' It may be as Frye says, that Blake 'hardly seems to have noticed that he had perfected a radically new form of mixed art.' He hardly seem to have  cared, any more than he cared to question a window concerning his sight. It mattered little to him whether picture penetrated poem or poem penetrated picture, if only their  human, apocalyptic meaning would penetrate our hearts and minds."

Auguries of Innocence, (E 491)
"It is right it should be so 
Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Thro the World we safely go
Joy & Woe are woven fine
A Clothing for the soul divine" 
Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 8, (E 37)
"Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth." 
Jerusalem, Plate 88, (E 246)
"How then can I ever again be united as Man with Man
While thou my Emanation refusest my Fibres of dominion.
When Souls mingle & join thro all the Fibres of Brotherhood
Can there be any secret joy on Earth greater than this?"
Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 255)
"Jesus replied Fear not Albion unless I die thou canst not live
But if I die I shall arise again & thou with me            
This is Friendship & Brotherhood without it Man Is Not" 
Jerusalem, Plate 77, (E 231)
"I give you the end of a golden string,
Only wind it into a ball:
It will lead you in at Heavens gate,
Built in Jerusalems wall." 
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"I assert for My self that I do
not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance &
not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it
will be Questiond When the Sun rises  do  you  not  see  a  round 
Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable
company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord
God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any
more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look
thro it & not with it."    

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